This is part of an ongoing series of articles about the current State of Service going into 2022, along with the contributing elements that have and will continue to impact the industry in the years ahead. Read this to get caught up:

Industrial enterprises have been the focus of service software efforts for decades—certainly longer than small and medium-sized businesses. That level of relative maturity is of course a double-edged sword: It means that for many industrial organizations, there’s a strong embedded infrastructure of software and potential connected assets to draw from. 

But that infrastructure might be staggeringly out of date or running a patchwork of software solutions that don’t integrate with one another. As I frequently say, bad data begets bad data in a negative feedback loop that can build unwanted biases into your technical criteria and undermine optimization efforts.

So, given the tectonic shifts in industrial operations, what is the current state of the industry. And more specifically, what can businesses do to start leveraging the accelerating digital transformation that is impacting other disciplines?

Benchmark Your Digital Transformation Maturity
So—I’d wager that for every company that has a sophisticated infrastructure of connected assets, and smartly-deployed applications, there’s another company that has a woefully underpowered, or downright primitive service solution in place. Over the time that I’ve been studying service industries, I’ve been gobsmacked by the number of big, high-profile brands that have woefully primitive systems of engagement for their customers when it comes to service.

There are tools to do this, chief among them market guides from some of the bid analyst firms, which go into the core capabilities, hype cycles, and appropriate case studies for your use case. These findings can help you answer questions like these:

Do major manufacturers have systems in place to manage remanufacturing and pure service providers that support their products? Do telco companies have asymmetrical planning utilities that support both customer and industrial appointments, and the ability to easily do crew scheduling? 

Organizations that lack these basic functions run the risk of being left behind. There are, as noted previously, some benefits to this sort of positioning, of course. It means you don’t have to rip out a bunch of old systems to modernize your current ones. But it means that developing a sequential deployment system, from hardware, to software, to people, is imperative. 

Tom Paquin
Author

Contributor, Future of Field Service